It is unquestionable that the majority of Malaysians have unfaltering patriotism, yet many have the common misconception that they are too insignificant to make a difference. That could not be further from the truth. Here are 5 simple actions you can take to do your part in shaping the nation:
1) Stop being a keyboard warrior
We have been surrounded by a plethora of negativity in our country lately and the last thing we should be doing is inflicting additional anger and disharmony on social media accounts. Technology emboldened people to spew complaints and dissatisfaction without the need for confrontation. While it is acceptable to engage in healthy discussions, most “keyboard warriors” post unnecessary negative remarks with the intention to aggravate before grabbing the popcorn and watching the drama unfold. My stance is: If your comment is not going to contribute towards improving the situation, it is better kept to yourself. Think before you post.
2) Be socially responsible
Social responsibility is the ethical obligation every individual is accountable for. It may appear to be common civic consciousness to avoid littering and to allow everyone else to exit from public transport before entering but you’ll be surprised at the number of Malaysians who do not exercise such basic courtesy. It usually starts out with one person and eventually evolves into a “If I can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” mentality. If every Malaysian were to adopt the same mindset, it is the recipe to destruction. It is outright appalling to see people casually toss their plastic containers as though it is second nature. You and I need to stand up to tell them off (even if it means being the bad guy). It is your country as much as it is mine.
3) Do not accept/offer bribes
Malaysia has been ranked as one of the most corrupt nations and its citizens are the key in the fight against this multifaceted and troubling issue. A bribe does not actually have to take place – abetting and allowing the process is just as inappropriate. How many Malaysians managed to procure their driving license without actually having to pay for a “package”? Perhaps it is time to take full responsibility for breaking traffic laws and go through the right channels to achieve an objective. We need to stop taking the easy way out by choosing convenience. It is an unhealthy habit to feed, which will eventually lead to Malaysia’s downfall.
4) Drive responsibly
Cruising on the emergency lane, texting while driving, rubbernecking to view or Instagram the aftermath of a traffic accident – many of us are guilty of this at some point of our lives. Malaysians are notorious for their non-existent driving manners. When the traffic conditions are not ideal in Malaysia, it brings out the worst in our drivers. Drivers would seize the tiniest opportunity and pull out all creative tactics to get ahead. However, this actually contributes to the slowdown of traffic. If you are repulsed by the idea of queue-cutting, this should be no different on the road. Do not allow your solution to be an inconvenience to others. Everyone else seems to be doing it? Refer point 2 about mentality.
5) Volunteer/Contribute towards a cause
An average of RM10 on your daily dose of artisan coffee or cold pressed juice could be someone else’s whole week-long supply of drinkable water and food. While I am not here to judge a person’s lifestyle habits, the point I am trying to drive across is that it does not require a lot of effort or commitment to make an impact, contrary to popular belief. There are many organisations in Malaysia that are constantly seeking volunteers or donations (even pre-loved items you thought of disposing are useful). Here is a website for a start: http://dosomething.gd/. Every small action counts, it can be a simple step such as writing this article in hopes of raising awareness among Malaysians.
Change does not happen overnight and can be a painstakingly slow progress. However, rest assured that by playing our part as a responsible citizen, we are that one step closer to creating a better Malaysia for all.
This article was contributed by Samantha Yong.
Samantha Yong is a non-conforming realist with a penchant for puns. Cheras-king for trouble if you tried reading Imbi-tween her jokes!